Thursday, May 31, 2007

2007 Infiniti G35 Sport - No automatic door locks

I was doing a bit of reading on the forums today and was surprised to find out that the Infiniti G35 does not have automatic door locks. I find this very unusual and disappointing for this class of vehicle. Especially since my 1999 VW Passat had it. My 2003 Toyota Sequoia had it. And my 2006 Honda Odyssey has it....

I know this is a very minor detail and it's simple just to press the door lock button yourself after you drive, but this vehicle is a "luxury" class vehicle and should not be missing things that are standard on lesser vehicles. Especially since the very first warning in the section on doors is:
Always have the doors locked while driving. Along with the use of seat belts, this provides greater safety in the event of an accidnet by helping to prevent persons from being thrown from the vehicle. This also helps keep children and others from unintentionally opening the doors, and will help keep out intruders.

Maybe if you've never had this feature before, you might not see the need for doors that lock automatically after you start to drive and automatically unlock when you park the car. But if you've had it on most the other vehicles you've had and then drive a one that doesn't have it, it's a glaring omission.

2007 Infiniti G35 Sport - Automatic Drive Positioner

One of the first things we setup on the 2007 Infiniti G35S was the Automatic Drive Positioner. When the feature is turned on, what it does is move the driver's seat back and the steering column up and out of the way to make getting in and out of the car more easy....

Once you are in the car and you start the engine, the driver's seat and the steering column move back to the normal memorized position. When you stop and open the door, everything moves out of the way again.

There are several nice things about setting and storing the driving position in the G35. First, when you use the power tilt/telescoping control to adjust the steering column, the entire gauge cluster moves with it so that the gauges never get blocked. Second, when you memorize the seat position in one of the two available memory slots, the position of the mirrors as well as the steering column all get stored at the same time. Very nice.

2007 Infiniti G35 Sport - Intelligent Key System

The owner's manual that comes with the 2007 Infiniti G35 comes in a supple, black genuine leather cover. The manual itself is pretty thick. Definitely thicker than the other ones I've had. And definitely a lot for a single reading. So what I've been doing is reading different sections and learning about different features of the car....

The Intelligent Key System allows you to operate the vehicle without removing the remote control from your pocket. It's a neat idea. When you approach a certain distance to the car, it recognizes the remote and allows you to press a button on the door handle that either locks or unlocks the doors. It works with the trunk and fuel-filler door, too. Once you are inside the vehicle you can also press the start button to start the engine.

I think the best way to work the system is to use the button on the door handle to enter the car, and then simply use the remote to lock it as you walk away.

I did find out from reading today that there will be a recall on the current Intelligent Key Remotes because there have been some problems when the remote comes into contact with certain cell phones. I guess that's why our salesperson warned us to keep the remote in a separate pocket than the cell phone. Apparently, replacements won't be available until fall this year.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Pleasures from Japan: Marusei Butter Sand

My mother-in-law returned from her extended trip in Japan yesterday and brought back some of the most delicious cakes in the world: Marusei Butter Sand. It's my absolute favorite and my wife's aunt in Osaka knows it! She never forgets to sends back several boxes for me and I just devour them....

The Marusei Butter Sand (short for "sandwiches") from Hokkaido are made of a smooth creamy sweet spread mixed with raisins and put in between two yummy cookies. Actually, it's been a while since I had some so when I opened up the first box I had forgotten how good they were. I popped one in my mouth, I couldn't help myself from closing my eyes and saying, "Mmmmm...." I also couldn't help myself from finishing the entire box of five in one sitting. Only 1.8 boxes left--that one I took a picture of didn't last very long after I was done :0)

The right thing to do, of course, is to share these with the rest of my family.... but it's going to be so hard!

2006 Honda Odyssey - DST Update 3

Previous posts about the new DST dates for the Honda Odyssey.

I was checking out "The Official Source for Your Navigation DVD Updates" to see if there was any new information/map data for our 2006 Honda Odyssey. Currently I have Version 4.31 and the latest version is 4.56.

I did notice this information about DST in the FAQ:
The navi is not switching Daylight Savings Time correctly anymore (in March/November), or the navi is still switching the time using the old April/October daylight savings schedule. What's wrong?

A new software version will be available soon that can be loaded by your dealer to change the navi's old Daylight Savings Time schedule to the new March/November schedule.

So it looks like we won't have to pay for an entire Navigation DVD update to patch the system with the new dates. I'll ask the dealer about it at my next service.

The 7-52 Daily STI: Cascade Loop Run 2006

FROM: The 7-52 Daily STI: Cascade Loop Run 2006

Winthrop, WA
Photo courtesy of MrMorninwood (NASIOC)
This picture was taken during an awesome Subaru meet and cruise through the Cascade Loop in Washington state last year. The town of Winthrop is an interesting "Western town" and the perfect place for lunch. Since there were so many Subarus, parking was a bit tricky to find and so many of us drove down the main stretch and back to get the lay of the land.

So just after that picture was taken of us, I snapped this picture of them coming the other way :0)

This year, the Cascade Loop Run is planned for July 14, 2007. More pictures I took from last year are available here.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

VW R32: spring detail

Once a year I like to give my R32 what I call a full exterior detail: washing, claying, polishing, waxing, and then finally the most important step, pictures. ;o)

Since I started using Einszett's Glanz Wax I've been normally waxing the R every 2-3 months. The forecast for this weekend was pretty much hot and sunny, with a chance of thunderstorms in the afternoons so I decided the morning would be ideal weather for detailing. My spring detail included:

1) Washing,
2) Claying,
3) Polishing with Einszett's Metallic Polish Wax,
4) Waxing with Einszett's Glanz Wax.

I did everything by hand.

Generally I try to take pictures of my R under the light of dawn or dusk. I think that's the best time of day to take pictures of silver cars. However, by the time I finished detailing it was already bright, sunny, and cloudless. Still, I think the pictures turned out okay.

More pictures.

You can find more information, thoughts, and pictures of my detailing experiences by following this link.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

VW R32: Gorilla-Gear sytsem

Talk about bad timing. A little more than two months ago I purchased an OEM bootliner for my 2004 VW Golf R32. The bootliner is made of foam, so hardly ideal, but it was the only cargo mat offered by Volkswagen for the R32. The hatch floor is smaller than in Golfs and GTIs because the R32’s floor is raised slightly to accommodate the Haldex AWD.

VW has finally started offering something better than a flimsy piece of foam.

More recently, VW finally began offering what I had *really* wanted—a Gorilla-Gear system designed for my R32. I think it’s slightly reprehensible of VW to offer a poor excuse of a bootliner but by virtue of it being the only option available still take my money, and then a short time later offer an actually useful bootliner so VW can take even more of my money. It’s a blatant cash-grab by VW and only tarnishes their image. I feel like VW took advantage of my goodwill and it only makes it less likely that any future auto I purchase will be a VW. For shame!

Whew! Enough with the venting.

The Gorilla-Gear system is quite nice and durable. The system includes a rubber-backed cargo mat than can be hosed off for cleaning, as well as four L-shaped Gorilla-Grips that attach via Velcro to prevent stuff sliding around in the back. If you’re looking for a cargo mat I highly recommend the Gorilla-Gear mat over the flimsy piece of foam.

Part No. 1J0 061 166 H 469

Cargo mat + Gorilla-Grips

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

2006 Honda Odyssey - 7630 km - Thule Crossbars and Evolution 1800

We're planning a family vacation--road trip!!!--this summer and in preparation I bought some Thule crossbars for our 2006 Honda Odyssey. Several months ago I saw another black Odyssey with silver coloured crossbars and I really liked the look. So that's what I bought from Rack Attack. The nice thing is that dasnowman from NASIOC works there and was able to help me out and show me how to fit it on properly....

The Honda Odyssey comes with roof railings but no crossbars. On our past vehicles I've always had factory crossbars, but I found that because they were always slightly curved, after market accessories never fit the best. With the Thule crossbars I have the option of removing them and they look great. These are the parts I got:
  • No. 450R, Rapid Crossroad Foot Pack
  • No. RB47, 47" Rapid Aero Load Bars

For some reason, I had a hard time fitting one of the crossbars because the railings are a bit wider at the front. Once I was able to get them on, the Thule Evolution 1800 cargo box I bought several years ago for our Mazda MPV fit great on top. (Here's what the cargo box looked like on our Toyota Sequoia.)

These particular crossbars have a rubber non-slip pad on top and a limited lifetime warranty. Yesterday, I drove with just the rear crossbar and did not hear any additional wind noise. This morning I did a short drive with the cargo box and there's a little bit of wind whistle starting faintly at about 50 km/h and is bit more steady and noticeable at 60 km/h. At this speed, it's not very loud--the radio/stereo will mask it but I'll report back on the noise once I do some more driving.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

2006 Subaru Impreza STI - Rally Armor modified

Because they are designed in the rally tradition, Rally Armor mud flaps are a great way to protect the STI. I did find, however, that because they were so large, the flaps would occasionally scrape the ground....

...especially going over tall speed bumps or through fast dips in the road.

Now that I installed the RCE sport suspension and dropped the STI's ride height by about 1", the scraping became more consistent. Speed bumps were the worst. So I modified them last night by drilling new mounting holes 1.5" lower. It was easy to do and I didn't need to remove the wheels to get to the rears. I just lifted the car and once the suspension was extended, my stubby Philips screwdriver could access the screws easily.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Delivery Day: 2007 Infiniti G35 Sport

Today was the day my dad picked up his new 2007 Infiniti G35 Sport.

It's also the first time I've been able to look at the car more closely at different angles. As I drove behind the Inifiniti on the way home, I found that I really like the curves on the redesign. The more I look at it, the sportier it looks....

There's a lot of technology in this car and I'm looking forward to learning all about it. Daylight was rapidly decreasing as the evening wore on, so I was only able to get a few quick pictures. I'll definitely get more this weekend:0)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

2007 Infiniti G35 Sport Diamond Graphite has arrived!

The Infiniti G35 Sport sedan my dad bought a couple of weeks ago finally arrived at the dealership yesterday. Today the salesman gave us a call and we went over to take a look. It was the first time seeing the colour in person. I noticed that there were 3 newly arrived G35's in that colour: in addition to my dad's, there was another Sport model with exactly the same Navigation and Technology option packages, and the other one was a G35x (AWD).

Next will be the first drive!

Click below for more pictures....

Monday, May 14, 2007

Under the morning light

For the past few weeks my R has been yellow instead of silver, covered by a layer of pollen. I'd wash the R one day, and by the next it's yellow, again. Well, if I can't enjoy having a clean car for longer than a few hours, then I was going to make darned sure I could at least enjoy having a sparkling ride in 2-D if not 3-D.

More pictures.

Survivor: Fiji -- Love Many, Trust Few, Do Wrong to None

I'm a little bummed out this morning. My favorite Survivor: Fiji player Yau Man got voted out of the final four because of a calculated risk. Even worse is that Global TV messed up the programming during last night's finale and played commercials during the pivotal tribal council--the entire tribal council :rolleyes:....

On top of that, they cut the last few minutes of the 1-hour reunion. Right after Jeff Probst said that they'll be right back to show some previews of the next season of Survivor, Global started showing the credits. This was after they had showed the Debbie Travis and House commercials three times in a row! Arrgh!!!

If you haven't been watching Survivor: Fiji, in an earlier episode Yau Man had won the new car reward and made a deal with Dreamz to give him the truck if Dreamz would give him the immunity idol if he won it during the final challenge. Well, Dreamz broke his word and Yau Man got voted off, leading to the most lopsided victory in Survivor history: Earl won the $1 million with no opposing jury votes.

One of the reasons that Yau Man was one of my favorites was because he was such an underdog. He was old and small, but in fact won many challenges over the young jocks. I'll always remember the expression on some of their faces when they saw the scrawny Yau Man perform better than themselves!

He explained his philosophy in one of the tribal councils: Love many, trust few, do wrong to no one. Yau Man is my idol!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

2006 Subaru STI: 17550 km - McGard Spline Drive Wheel Nuts

I actually installed the McGuard Spline Drive wheel nuts shortly before I had the RCE suspension installed. They are specifically designed not to damage after-market tuner wheels with smaller diameter openings for the wheel nuts....

I not a believer in wheel locks because I don't believe they are functional, but these act somewhat like locks because you need a special key to remove them. I was surprised to find out that they came with separate locks on top of that.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

2006 Subaru Impreza WRX STI - Suspension Before/After Measurements

I finally got a chance to take some "After" measurements and find out the exact drop of the Racecomp Engineering springs....

The STI stock suspension is actually about 1/2" lower on the right side than on the left. The RCE springs drop the car the same on both sides: 1 1/8" in the front and 7/8" in the rear.

Right side of car:

Left side of car:

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

2006 Subaru STI - 17573 km: RCE springs installed

The Racecomp Engineering springs were installed last Friday. I really love the look.

Before/After measurements are here.

My previous experience with sport suspension was with H&R/Bilsteins on my VW Passat. Here's my "regular-old-guy, daily-driver" impressions of the RCE springs on the Subaru STI with no other suspension mods....

1. Stance is good. I really wanted to get rid of the wheel gap and now I think it looks great. (My Rally Armor already scraped occasionally stock, so I may have to do something about them now--I knew that going in.) (+1)

2. Definitely firmer, but not uncomfortable or harsh at all. (+1)

3. Firmer so it follows every undulation on worn pavement. My ride home was at a jogging pace on the freeway where the road was hardly flat and smooth. I'm sure if we were going at proper speed, things would have smoothed out but at the crawling pace we were going at, we were going up and down like we were driving on washboards. Unfortunately, a few of the roads around here are like that. (-1)

4. Dive and squat are eliminated. I appreciate this a lot. I like making firm stops and without the dive, the car feels so much more composed. (+1)

5. Cornering is flat and turn-in is accomplished with knife-like precision. The car is transformed. In addition to feeling the power of the STI, it now feels like it has the control to match. (+1)

Summary: I don't track at all, but I feel that these springs would be awesome performing at the upper limits. They're not designed for bumper to bumper rush-hour traffic ;0) and are much happier the faster you go :evilgrin:!

Score = 4/5

Car shopping with the APA...

...but not for me, of course!

Last night my dad signed the papers for a new 2007 G35 Sport Sedan. I just helped my dad negotiate the price and I have to say that the process was quick and relatively stress free....

Actually, that makes 3 car purchases I've made in just over 1 year (Subaru, Honda, Infiniti) that were pleasant and didn't leave anyone with a bad taste in their mouth. I think that occurred because the sales manager was motivated to sell and they knew that we were serious about buying. Being a member of the Automotive Protection Agency really helped because it allowed me to walk into the dealership prepared and informed. The APA offers a member buying service that gives you invoice price and dealer markup.

This greatly cuts down negotiation time because the sooner we get down to the bottom line, the less time we have to waste. I'm not trying to make the dealer loose money and what I offer is a reasonable profit. The salesman recognizes that and we are all happy because we get what we want.

The G35 pictured above is the regular sedan and NOT the Sport trim that my dad ordered. The Sport comes with 19" wheels and a few extra options. Apparently, the colour that we wanted, Diamond Graphite, is on the boat from Japan and should arrive in two weeks.

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